The Isle of Capri has raised concerns over Riverboat Development Authority board members having contact with parties other than Davenport officials about the $46 million sale of the Rhythm City casino.
RDA president Mary Ellen Chamberlin said Monday the RDA received a letter from the Isle of Capri attorney stating that the company won’t extend permission for discussions between the board and the city beyond Friday’s deadline. She wouldn’t release the contents of the letter.
“We received a letter from the Isle basically saying they wanted us to move forward and get it done,” Chamberlin said.
Isle of Capri spokeswoman Jill Alexander said the deadline for discussion hasn’t expired.
“Isle values its relationship with the RDA,” she said in a statement. “In fact, over the past few years, Isle has worked closely with the RDA as it evaluated alternatives involving Rhythm City casino with numerous parties, including the city of Davenport.
“We are concerned that discussions between RDA’s members and parties other than the city have occurred as reported in the local media. We have voiced this concern to the RDA as it may be in violation of our existing contract.”
Don Decker, RDA board member and treasurer, has stated in emails and media reports that he has been in contact with three “serious big time casino operators.”
In an email to Decker last week, City Administrator Craig Malin asked Decker to identify those casino operators, noting a potential violation of the agreement between the RDA and Isle of Capri.
Chamberlin and Christine Frederick, an RDA board member, serve on the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. The Isle declined to comment on if the company considered their participation in Davenport Community Improvement Corp. discussions a violation of the RDA’s agreement with the gaming company.
The city, Davenport Community Improvement Corp. and RDA expect an analysis of two of the proposed casino developments financial data today. Malin planned a meeting today of the 17-member panel that heard the developers presentations earlier this month.
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That could be the last bit of information the city could provide RDA board members who are weighing whether to accept an operating agreement with the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. Three RDA board members met with Malin and casino consultant Gary Buettner last week for a question-and-answer session.
Chamberlin doesn’t plan a meeting of the RDA board this week.
Malin will provide aldermen with an update on the casino acquisition at tonight’s city council meeting. The city is ready to move forward with the RDA as a partner.
“The city met with the RDA within hours of the RDA getting permission to meet with us,” Malin said. “We agreed to everything they asked for, and we look forward to their approval of the agreement that will double their revenue over 10 years.”
The proposed operating agreement would increase the RDA’s share of the casino’s adjusted gross revenue from 4 percent to 4.5 percent once the casino goes land-based, then to 5 percent after 50 percent of the bond debt has been retired. Also, the city agreed to allow two RDA appointments to the Davenport Community Improvement Corp.